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Paper: How Imams purportedly 'terrorized' an airliner

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Published: Tuesday November 28, 2006

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According to a report in a newspaper known for its right-leaning editorials, the six Imams removed from a flight last week for "loudly praying" were purportedly "terrorizing" the airliner.

"Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials," Audrey Hudson reports for The Washington Times, a paper founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church.

"Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks -- two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin," the article continues.

"That would alarm me," a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous told the paper. "They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane."

On Monday, a group comprising imams, ministers and a rabbi held a "pray-in" demonstration at Reagan Washington National Airport, seeking an apology from US Airways.

"We're sorry the imams had a difficult time, but we do think the crews have to make these calls and we think they made the right one," a US Airways spokesman said, the Associated Press reported.

Excerpts from Times article:


According to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials, the imams displayed other suspicious behavior.

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she "found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting." Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.